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Demo Software Simulations – The New Way to Showcase Your SaaS Product

Neil McleanJuly 07, 2021

Implementing a demo software simulation is a fantastic strategy for SaaS companies to engage prospects in a more meaningful way.

Without a doubt, there are many ways to go about creating software simulations, but which techniques work best? The answer depends on the type of software and the ideal next step you’d like buyers to take. Would you like them to sign up for a trial after seeing the simulation? Would you like them to get in touch with your sales team? Determining the ideal next step is essential here.

In particular, SaaS marketers can benefit the most from product demo simulations because they’re relatively easy to create when the tools are in place to build them.

To give SaaS sales and marketing pros a look at the essentials, here’s a breakdown of how software demo simulations can help generate quality leads at scale.

What are software demo simulations?

Starting out, the terms “software demo simulation” and “interactive demo” are analogous. In both cases, you are sharing a simulated version of the software that a user can experience without needing to wait on sales to provide a demo showcase.

Interactive demo simulations are customizable and interactive to get a user hands-on with the solution much earlier in the sales process. Typically, these demos are included on a company’s website to capture a customer’s attention more readily, giving them first-hand access to an interactive product demo.

Previously, the most common tactic was to offer freemium versions or free trials with limited features. However, not every company is well-suited to this sort of go-to-market motion.

According to Arthur Ventures, companies with the following features are generally ill-suited for the freemium or a trial-based model:

  • The pricing strategy excludes the bottom of the market.
  • The product has a clunky user experience.
  • The product is complex and requires setup, configuration, and training.
  • The product wasn’t initially designed to have a self-service customer acquisition mechanism.

However, buyers today are increasingly expecting B2B buying to occur like that in their consumer life. This trend at a high-level is often referred to as the “consumerization” of enterprise software.

Today, it’s not such a heavy lift to design and launch online demos with the advent of interactive demo creation platforms.

That said, the next question is this: what should I showcase in my interactive demo simulation?

What types of demo simulations should SaaS companies create?

Implementing product demo simulations is a low-hanging fruit that’s ripe for plucking. They’re especially effective when it comes to website product tours to provide prospects with a whole new way to explore software in-depth without a salesperson getting in the way.

Besides, the last thing any SaaS company wants is to spend the resources to develop software simulations that won’t appeal to the ideal buyers. That’s why it’s critical to have buyer personas in place already to customize the demo accordingly.

As described in 5 Keys to Building Interactive Demos, the following are helpful considerations when determining what type of interactive demo simulations to create:

  1. What is your desired action for the visitor of your demo?

  2. Where would you like to distribute your demo?

  3. What persona do you want to target?

  4. What are the features that best showcase your product?

  5. What length shows users the power of your platform while keeping your attention span in mind?

Going through the exercise of answering these questions is a great starting point to building stand-out interactive demo simulations.

How can you best utilize a demo software simulation?

One quick win when implementing demos is to create a product demo simulation that goes over the most helpful features without distracting the prospect with extra, nice-to-have capabilities.

At this point, there are a few vital best practices when developing an interactive demo.

Most importantly, the simulation needs to highlight the software’s unique value proposition while also giving the prospect the opportunity to explore the product at their desired pace.
The resulting question is: our platform is feature-rich, how can we possibly share only a few features?

A set of key features that you should show is often referred to as the “minimum viable demo.” As the root phrase (“minimum viable product” or MVP) suggests, the minimum viable demo is an excellent forcing function to condense your feature-rich platform into the most impactful features, especially those that consistently deliver the crucial “aha moments.”

What are the advantages of implementing interactive demo simulations?

Along those lines, there are several additional advantages of using demo simulations in the sales cycle.

In short, compelling interactive demo simulations inspire action from potential customers, convert more of them, and allow them to get hands-on with the software in tangible ways. It’s one thing to tell a prospect what they’ll love about software; it’s another thing entirely to let them see the value for themselves.

Also, interactive website tours significantly reduce friction to exploring the product. We typically see the following end-states for interactive demo simulations:

Use Case: Website Product Tours Outcome: Increased lead generation

Use Case: Outbound Sales Emails Outcome: Increased lead generation

Use Case: Interactive Trainings Outcome: Reduced time to go-live

What are the key considerations when creating demo software simulations?

No matter how marketers position their product to a market, demos work well, but the benefits aren’t guaranteed.

We’ve discussed the components of interactive demo simulations, what story would be most effective to tell and relevant use cases. However, the last component that’s critical to mention is the channel for distribution. What value is having an interactive demo simulation if prospects don’t know about it?

A key consideration is not only the creation of these demo simulations but also having a plan in place to make sure they can be operationalized in your process.

If it’s a website product tour, can you spin up a landing page to embed it on?

if it’s used for training, do you have access to the documentation system to add the relevant links or embed it right within the site?

Having a clear plan for the end-state of these demo simulations is imperative in their success.

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